Sara Coulson has worked as an Audiologist for 20 years in both the NHS and private practice before joining De Montfort University's Audiology programme in 2015. Sara's special interests are tinnitus and adults with complex hearing problems, and service user and carer involvement in service provision and delivery.
“Being Heard: Lived Experience Of Mild Hearing Loss”
Research and statistics are important tools providing evidence for best practice. It is also important to understand the implications of best practice on individuals. ‘Being Heard’ began as a collaborative project between Sara Coulson, Senior Lecturer in Audiology, and Kate Chapman, Lecturer in Drama. They sought to explore and reveal the experiences of people with mild hearing loss. The aim was to interview, capture and disseminate the experiences of volunteers diagnosed as having mild hearing loss in order to define the parameters of this categorization and to understand the diversity of experience within it.
The volunteers’ words formed the basis of the script of a verbatim performance in the style of Augusto Boul. Verbatim theatre is a documentary style of performance, in which actors perform only using words that were uttered by ‘real’ people. However, the identities of the hard of hearing contributors were not used in the performance. The collected data was curated for themes, and a script created.
Themes identified included:
- first signs of hearing loss, family, work, social life, hearing aids, strategies.
Actors have performed the verbatim script and a film, ‘Being Heard’, has been produced. ‘Being Heard’ is now available to use as tool for advocacy and awareness-raising around mild hearing loss.